SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule has been docked at the International Space Station (ISS) on May 31st at 7:59 PM IST. Now it’s getting ready to make its return trip.
When will Crew Dragon return?
Assuming good weather and a smooth final few weeks on the Space Station, astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are scheduled to undock from ISS on August 1st and return to Earth the next day by completing 64-day test flight of Crew Dragon.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed the target dates for the Crew Dragon’s planned return trip window, in a tweet Friday.
Where will the Dragon Land?
SpaceX and NASA are evaluating return zones in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.
During this return flight the Crew Dragon case will play out a automated undocking and return flight maneuver, with Behnken and Hurley on board. It’ll enter the Earth’s atmosphere and plunge slowly with a parachute, hopefully that leads to soft landing in the Atlantic Ocean where they’ll be recovered by a SpaceX recovery crew.
The pre-selected landing sites in the Atlantic east of Cape Canaveral and Jacksonville, and a location in the Gulf of Mexico south of Pensacola, Florida. Officials at NASA are evaluating additional locations off Daytona Beach, Tampa, Tallahassee and Panama City.
The final selection of a landing site will depend on weather and sea states. Assessments suggest conditions in the Gulf of Mexico have a higher chance of being favorable for splashdown in early August, Spaceflight Now mentioned.
Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have been taking part in various scientific and maintenance work at the International Space Station since their arrival, including Behnken taking part in 4 spacewalks, with 3 already completed and one planned for next week. This first crewed Dragon flight is actually still a demonstration mission, It was not an official operational ISS crew launch, but NASA made the call to include Behnken and Hurley contributing to regular station operations during their time on orbit.
This return trip is just as critical to the overall success of SpaceX and NASA’s Commercial Crew flight it’s obviously vital that SpaceX be able not only to get astronauts to the Space Station definitive, but also to get them back home again safely, too.
Crew Dragon Demo-2 is a crewed test flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, which launched on 31st May 2020 12:52 AM IST. Demo-2 is the first crewed orbital spaceflight launched from the United States since the final Space Shuttle mission, STS-135, in 2011, and also the first ever operated by a commercial provider.
The mission, which launched Astronaut Douglas Hurley and Astronaut Robert Behnken to the International Space Station, is also the first two-person orbital spaceflight launched from the United States since STS-4 in 1982.
The spacecraft soft docked with the International Space Station on 7:46 PM IST on 31 May 2020. Following soft capture, 12 hooks were closed to complete a hard capture at 7:57 PM IST. The first attempt to launch on 27 May 2020 was aborted at 16 minutes and 53 seconds prior to launch due to bad weather caused by Tropical Storm Bertha.
NASA has agreed to allow its astronauts to fly on reused Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 boosters beginning as soon as SpaceX’s third launch of a crew to the International Space Station, a mission expected to launch next year. The Crew-2 launch is scheduled for 2021. The Crew-1 mission SpaceX’s first operational astronaut flight is slated to fly with four Expedition 64 astronaut members in mid-September 2020.
Even NASA shared a pic where the first stage boosters of Falcon 9 rocket is arrived at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
You can check next launch schedules here